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Live Resin vs Distillate Cart (9 Differences)

Live-Resin-vs-Distillate-Cart-9-Differences

The oldest way to enjoy marijuana is to smoke the dried flower, also known as bud. But these days, we’ve developed more efficient ways to consume concentrated cannabis. We process the plant in various ways to heighten its potency by extracting compact cannabinoids and ditching the waste products. Today, we’re getting into the live resin vs distillate cart debate.

What is Live Resin?

Live resin is flash-frozen fresh cannabis processed with solvents. While cannabis is typically trimmed, dried, and cured, live resin goes into the freezer immediately after it leaves the soil. But unlike regular freezing, live resin undergoes liquid nitrogen exposure or other cryogenic options that freeze the marijuana in just a few hours. This preserves all its garden qualities.

Live resin is as close as you can get to ‘raw’ cannabis because all the sugar leaves are included in the final product. While drying and curing raises the potency of marijuana products, live resin skips all that so it has the powerful presence of unadulterated terpenes, giving it a rich taste and scent. You can enjoy the feel and aroma of smoked bud without toxic by-products.

The temperature range for cannabis consumption ranges from 126°F for CBG to 451°F in a blunt or bowl. CBD pops up at 356°F while THC is lower at 315°F. As for specific terpenes, pinene is released at 311°F, caryophyllene at 320°F, myrcene at 334°F, limonene at 349°F, linalool at 388°F, and humulene at 388°F. This means you need adjustable heat settings.

Ideally, you want a battery with 2.5V to 3.3V for the best results. It also means the effects of live resin won’t hit you all at once. It’s a gradual experience as the various components are introduced to your bloodstream, making live resin more immersive. You could experiment with the same live resin cart and get a different high each time based on vape temperature.

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Pros of Live Resin

  • Smells like fresh, growing weed.
  • Has an effective entourage effect.
  • Retains its full spectrum of cannabinoids.
  • Maintains maximum scent and flavor.
  • Best for vapes and dab rigs.

Cons of Live Resin

  • It can be quite expensive.

What is a Distillate Cart

A distillate cart is a cartridge filled with distillate weed oil. The distillate is cannabis treated with a solvent then distilled – as the name suggests – to draw out a single cannabinoid. This process leaves out everything else including terpenes, trichomes, and other weed elements. That’s why distillate carts are so pure and potent, though this characteristic has downsides.

Distillates are a favorite for cannabis cooking because they don’t taste like weed – or smell like it either. You can enjoy its therapeutic and psychoactive benefits without getting that weedy aroma in your dish. However, for distillates in vapes, you might still want flavor so the oil may have the extracted terpenes re-inserted. This additional step raises expenses.

Because distillates have to be trimmed, dried, cured, dissolved, and distilled, their processing time is longer than other types of cannabis. But these extra phases also allow fine-tuning and you can refine the distillate cart down to the exact cannabinoid you want, whether it’s CBN or THC-A. This specificity makes it an ideal product for medicinal use without heat settings.

You probably know that vaping offers more privacy than smoking because the fumes fade much faster than smoke. But distillates offer an added benefit since they have no intrinsic taste or smell. This means they’re less enjoyable to vape but are better at camouflage if you’re worried about that distinctly weedy smell. Even with re-inserted terpenes, they smell less.

Pros of a Distillate Cart

  • Can be refined for maximum potency.
  • Is typically tasteless and flavorless.
  • Usually has a single cannabinoid.
  • Works with minimal temperature settings.
  • Best for carts and edibles.

Cons of a Distillate Cart

  • Needs additives to achieve the entourage effect.
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Live Resin vs Distillate Cart: Comparing Difference

Unlike the e-liquid in nicotine vapes that have artificial flavors such as strawberry ice, weed gets its scent and taste from natural sources. These include terpenes, fruit genes, and cross-breeding techniques. As we saw above, live resin is processed from fresh frozen weed while distillate has curated strains of dried weed. Both forms involve solvents so let’s look closer.

1. History

The e-cig patent is older than you’d think, with known filings in 1927 (Joseph Robinson), 1963 (Herbert Gilbert), and 1979 (Phil Ray). But mass-market vape pens didn’t pop up until 2003 in China. Ten years later in 2013, flash-frozen live resin was invented in Colorado. It’s unclear when distillate carts entered the conversation, but they’ve likely been around longer.

2. Extraction Technique

Both distillate carts and live resin are treated with solvents before being loaded into carts. But live resin is frozen while fresh without trimming, drying, or curing while distillate goes through the usual rigmarole. It is later immersed in the solvent then distilled to refine the desired cannabinoid. The solvents used for both options include butane and carbon dioxide.

3. Processing Temperature

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Earlier, we mentioned that solvents are used to extract both distillates and live resins. These include propane, butane, carbon dioxide, or combinations of these solutions. The plant is also vacuum-treated and pressed in both cases. But terpenes burn off at low temperatures so live resin uses lower heat while distillates are exposed to higher settings during extraction.

4. Cannabinoid Content

Cannabis plants have hundreds of cannabinoids, flavonoids, trichomes, and terpenes. Many have healing properties while some are sedative and others are mind-altering. With live resin you get the whole package so you can’t target specific benefits. But they work together for the full entourage effect. Distillates – on the other hand – can zoom into one single cannabinoid.

5. Usage Options

If you’re using canna-butter for dessert or canna-oil for salad dressing, you may not want that distinctly bitter element to bother your taste buds. So distillates are a smarter choice for edibles. They’re easier for dosing as well since you know the exact cannabinoid and volume. Buy a distillate cart without added terpenes. But live resin is far better for vaping or dabbing.

6. Flavor Profile

Nicotine vapes have flavors like peach mango watermelon while weed vapes rely on their terpenes and growing partners. But live resin goes from farm to freezer so it retains all its ingrown qualities. This means it has the best flavor and aroma of all weed products. In comparison, distillate carts are flat and scent-free so they can be quite discreet for vaping.

7. Potency

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Typically, marijuana has 15% to 30% THC plus all those other cannabinoids. The bud is dried and cured to enhance its potency. But live resin is frozen while fresh so you’re getting at most 30%. With a distillate cart, you’ll pull out the THC or CBD and refine it so the end product is 90% or more of your desired cannabinoid with no fluff or wastage. That’s way more effective.

8. Packaging

With live resin, you have a wider range of options. You can buy live liquid resin or LLR, the oil form that can be loaded into vapes. But you can also buy live resin wax for your dab rig. And as we said, live resin is way more enjoyable to consume. But distillate only comes in oil form so you need a pen to hold the vape cart. Plus, you’re sacrificing your sensory pleasure.

9. Pricing

Although distillate carts undergo more processing than live resin, the distillates end up with a narrower profile of terpenes and flavonoids. They also focus on a single cannabinoid while live resin has all of them. For these reasons, while distillate carts are often more potent than live resin, the live resin carts are significantly more expensive. They’re also more enjoyable.

The Difference Between Cannabinoids and Strains

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Before you get comfy in the weed space, you may get confused by these two terms so let’s do a quick Weed 101. Cannabinoids refer to the chemical compounds in marijuana e.g. CBD, THC, HHC, etc. Each of these elements has a natural effect on your body. For instance, THC gives you a ‘high’ feeling while CBN is degraded THC so it just makes you slow and sleepy.

But when we’re talking strains, we’re referring to specific breeds of marijuana that are mixed to heighten certain cannabinoids. This happens right from the seed stage, so Sour Tsunami is heavier on the CBD while Banana leans more towards THC. That said, these strains may still have low levels of non-targeted cannabinoids to ensure the entourage effect and absorption.

Essentially, you can get a live resin cartridge derived from Chiquita Banana weed that’s high in THC and low in CBD but still offers the full spectrum of the plant. But you can also get a distillate cart that only pulls out the THC or the CBD from that same strain. Live resin is more focused on the strain though, while distillate carts zone into the cannabinoid content.

Choosing Distillates or Live Resin Carts

If you’re looking for the short version, distillate carts are subtle products that often have no taste or smell. But they allow you to ingest the exact chemical compound you require e.g. HHC, CBG, or Delta 9. They’re perfect for medicine, discreet vaping, and culinary settings.

Conversely, live resin offers the whole plant experience with complete flavor and aroma. But while distillates take longer to process, live resin retains more of the plant so a live resin cart could be twice the price of distillates but it offers significantly less potency and targeting.

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